Today, March 12th, the sun rose for the first time on MOSAIC since October 5th. But he stayed behind the clouds, and the strong winds cracked the sea ice right through the working area, spectacular. No instruments neither any scientific installation was damaged, miraculously.
So I'm still on board the German icebreaker Polarstern. My colleagues from Leg2 finally left on March 6th, heading to Norway, on board the Russian icebreaker Kapitan Dranitsyn. They should arrive in Tromso early April with one month delay from initial plan. I decided to stay with Leg3 team because I was offered to take the first flight from the MOSAIC spring airborne campaign. Then I should arrive in Longyearbyen in Svalbard, beginning of a long journey to Arctic Bay in Canada where ma family is waiting for me on board Vagabond.
The first flight was scheduled to land today on the ice near Polarstern, but all aircraft engineers are currently in quarantine due to the corona virus! My return from almost the North Pole is delayed until further notice... The virus impact is definitely worldwide.
Polarstern became the northernmost vessel during an Arctic winter, reaching 88°36'N on February 24th, 2020, during her transpolar drift. While the Kapitan Dranitsyn did the northernmost navigation during an Arctic winter, up to 88°28'N on February 26th, 2020.
The Leg3 team arrived full of energy, after a very long voyage from Tromso, and the crew change was efficient and faster than the 40 tons cargo transfer (supplies and scientific equipment) which lasted one week due to the extreme cold (-40°C, down to -60°C wind chill).
The crew change on board Vagabond, overwintering near Arctic Bay, was much faster: half an hour! Since March 3rd, France, Léonie and Aurore, are setting up again and they started the artists' residence with Christian Morel.